North East eateries and producers cut waste down to size

FOOD FOR THE SOUL: Saint Monday owners Chris McGorlick and Lauren Salathiel say their sustainable approach to the business is simply an extension of their home life. 
Pictures: MARK JESSER
FOOD FOR THE SOUL: Saint Monday owners Chris McGorlick and Lauren Salathiel say their sustainable approach to the business is simply an extension of their home life. Pictures: MARK JESSER

A NEW brew made from pumpkin farm waste is in the pipeline.

FRESH APPROACH: Saint Monday uses fresh quinces brought in by a customer with an abundant supply on their menu and in preserves.

FRESH APPROACH: Saint Monday uses fresh quinces brought in by a customer with an abundant supply on their menu and in preserves.

Bright Brewery is teaming up with the Ovens-based The Australian Pumpkin Seed Company on the beer, which uses pumpkin flesh not needed in the production process. 

It also trades its spent grain, yeast and hops for Tawonga South-based Bogong Horseback Adventures’ pork down the track.

The brewery’s neighbour Bright Chocolate uses the husk byproduct from cacao beans to make its cacao tea.

Over the road the couple behind hatted restaurant Tani Eat & Drink is looking at ways to recycle spent botanicals made in its fledgling gin venture.

This little pocket of Bright – all within 100 steps of each other – is now typical of a growing mindfulness about food waste and the value of sustainable production methods on the Border and North East.

Yackandandah cafe Saint Monday is taking the premise up a notch for its event in the annual High Country Harvest festival.

Owners Lauren Salathiel and Chris McGorlick are busy preparing and preserving for a waste-free dinner titled Food For Thought on May 6.

They plan to use only produce grown around Yackandandah or food they can forage in nearby forests.

Ms Salathiel says ethical means different things to different people.

“Food For Thought will be vegetarian and vegan dishes and as waste-free as possible,” she says.

“For example, we’ll use pumpkin seeds and skin, carrot tops and the whey off the cheese we make; those things that we would normally compost will help to inspire the menu.

“It will be uniquely Yackandandah in many ways; we want to illustrate the types of food you can get in and around Yackandandah at this time of year; autumn is really exciting for us.”

Ms Salathiel says the three-course, candlelit dinner will pay homage to their environment, landscape and community.

“Being electricity-free dining is a tip of the hat to the Yackandandah approach too,” she says.

Bright Brewery marketing manager James Davidson says sustainability frames their operation.

“We are deep in our progress to achieve a 90 per cent reduction in landfill waste,” he says.

“We compost and recycle roughly 70 per cent of our waste with 30 per cent going to hard waste.

“Our goal is to reduce our hard waste to just 10 per cent.”

The brewery underwent a major redevelopment in 2012, transforming it into an environmentally-friendly venue.

Mr Davidson says they now generate enough solar power to run their brewery needs.